Android flashlight app developer settles FTC charges of sharing geolocation data

The Brightest Flashlight Free app shared location information even though it told users they could turn sharing off, the agency alleges

The developer of a popular flashlight app for Android devices has agreed to settle U.S. Federal Trade Commission charges that it shared users' geolocation information with advertising networks and other organizations without permission.

The settlement between the FTC and Goldenshores Technologies, maker of the Brightest Flashlight Free app, prohibits the company from misrepresenting how consumers' information is collected and shared and how much control consumers have over the way their information is used, the agency said Thursday.

The settlement also requires the app developer to provide a disclosure that informs users when and how their geolocation information is being collected, used and shared, and it requires the company to get customer consent before doing so, the FTC said in a press release.

The FTC, in a complaint made public Wednesday, alleged that the company's privacy policy failed to disclose that the app transmitted users' precise location and unique device identifier to third parties, including advertising networks.

The company deceived consumers by presenting them with an option to not share their information, even though it was shared automatically, the FTC alleged.

"When consumers are given a real, informed choice, they can decide for themselves whether the benefit of a service is worth the information they must share to use it," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "But this flashlight app left them in the dark about how their information was going to be used."

The app presented users with an end-using license agreement that allowed them to accept or refuse the terms of the agreement, including information on data collection, the FTC said. But before a consumer had a chance to accept those terms, the app already started collecting and sending information to third parties, the agency said.

Company representatives didn't immediately respond to an email message seeking comment on the settlement.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Federal Trade CommissiontelecommunicationregulationJessica RichGoldenshores Technologiesmobilegovernmentprivacy4gconsumer electronics3gsecuritysmartphonessoftware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?